Whey-ah-wichen - Cates Park/Roche Point, North Vancouver

Whey-ah-wichen (Cates Park) as seen from Centennial Park. Photo by Bryan Myles
Sign for Whey-ah-wichen. Photo by Skye Constable.

Whey-ah-wichen, is an ancestral village site located on səl̓ilw̓ət (Burrard Inlet) in North Vancouver, in Cates Park. The hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (Hun’qumyi’num) place name means “facing both directions” and “facing the wind.”

səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) people have lived at and used the site of Whey-ah-wichen for thousands of years before European contact, and afterward until approximately 1869. It is an important site for the səl̓ilw̓ət Nation. Within a day’s travel, the people of Whey-ah-wichen were able to access the majority of səl̓ilw̓ət, North Vancouver, North Coquitlam, and North Burnaby using canoes and trail systems. They accessed these areas as part of their daily journeys to collect the plants and animals they used for food, medicines, and clothing. Remains of the wide variety of animals they depended on are found in the ground at Whey-ah-wichen, which includes rockfish, salmon, goldeneye and mallard ducks, harbor seal, and mussels, urchins, and clams. They also hunted beaver, black bear, wapiti (elk), and mountain goat.

Whey-ah-wichen was initially a winter village but it may have transitioned into a spring and summer village after 1846 due to introduced European diseases. The village had trench embankments and a wood tower that was also a lookout station, allowing lookouts to see past Second Narrows toward Stanley Park.  Various forms of fortification provided extra security for people gathering resources nearby.

Additional Information


Bouchard, Randy, and Dorothy Kennedy

     1986 Squamish Nation Land Use And Occupancy. Report submitted to

          Squamish Nation Chiefs and Council, BC Indian Language Project, Victoria,     

          British Columbia.

Carter, Anthony

     1966 Somewhere Between. Anthony Carter, Vancouver.

George, Gabriel

   2018  Personal Communication. Tsleil-Waututh Nation 3075 Takaya Drive North  Vancouver, BC.

MacDonald, Colleen, Diana Drake, John Doerksen, and Michael Cotton

     1998 Between Forest and Sea: Memories of Belcarra, Belcarra Historical

          Group, Belcarra B.C.

Matthews, John S.

     1955 Conversations with Khatsahlano. Compiled by The City Archivist

          Vancouver, British Columbia.

Morin, Jesse

     2015 Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s History, Culture and Aboriginal Interests in  

          Eastern Burrard Inlet (Redacted Version). Report prepared for Gowling  

          Lafleur Henderson LLP, Toronto, Ontario. Accessed online August 5, 2015,